North Korea may give Marzuki Darusman, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the chance to visit their country in exchange for changes in a General Assembly resolution condemning the country’s human rights record.
“I’ve been able to meet with the DPRK officially yesterday afternoon for the first time in 10 years,” Marzuki Darusman said on Tuesday, 28 October, after he presented his annual report to the General Assembly’s human rights committee. Mr. Darusman, a member of a Commission of Inquiry (COI) that produced a devastating report on human rights abuses in North Korea early this year, said the offer for a visit was made by four North Korean diplomats who had unexpectedly agreed to meet with him on Monday. The North Koreans, according to Darusman, requested that two provisions of the General Assembly resolution, which was drafted by Japan and the European Union, be deleted: a recommendation that the International Criminal Court prosecute abuses, and a warning that North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, could be held personally accountable for crimes.
Choe Myong Nam, a North Korean foreign ministry official in charge of human rights issues, told the press that his country is looking for a “new and objective report” on North Korea’s human rights situation. “Previous reports he has prepared have been based on rumors and fabrications, as well as distortions.”
During his address to the General Assembly committee, Darusman, while welcoming the recent “signs of increased engagement by the DPRK with the Human Rights Council and international community,” emphasized that any efforts by the DPRK to engage with the international community should be premised on a more fundamental acknowledgement of the problems, and must not “divert from efforts to ensure the accountability of those responsible.”